RALEIGH, N.C. — With a potential winter storm coming through the state this weekend, the N.C. Insurance News Service is offering advice to consumers to protect their homes and automobiles.
With the support of the Insurance Information Institute in New York, the NCINS is distributing a brochure, "Surviving Severe Cold Weather," free of charge to consumers who call the News Service's toll-free number:
"Many people know how to protect themselves and their loved ones during severe cold weather and winter storms, but they don't always know the appropriate steps to protect their homes and their automobiles," said John Peterson, NCINS executive director. "We want to make sure that people know what to do to keep their homes, possessions and loved ones safe."
Among the steps outlined in the brochure:
Making Home Improvements
Add extra insulation in attics and basements
Wrap pipes with heating tape
Winterize doorways and windows
Protecting Your Home
Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperatures inside the walls where the pipes are located are substantially colder than the walls themselves.
Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting ice and snow can flow freely. This can prevent ice dams, which cause water to build up and seep into your house.
Protecting Your Automobile
Check the antifreeze levels in your car and the firmness of hoses.
Check the power levels and water in your battery. If your car is not housed in a garage, it is crucial to have a heating system for your engine if there are extremely low temperatures for long periods.
Make sure you don't run a cord where it could create a fire hazard. If you don't have a garage or carport, parking near a wall or building can protect your car from the cold to some degree.
Keep your gas tank filled. Doing so will keep condensation from getting in the tank. Condensation can contribute to fuel line freeze-up.
Severe weather sometimes causes damage no matter how many precautions are taken. In the event of damage, please take the following steps as soon as damage is noticed:
Call your insurance agent or company.
Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage.
Save the receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Make a list of the damaged items.
Save the receipts from any additional living expenses you incur if your home is so severely damaged that you have to find other accommodations while repairs are being made.